Monday, October 12, 2009

Fall Garden Clean Up Craft

Here in the Pacific Northwest we have 4 seasons Winter, warm and wet, summer, cold and wet.  This year we've been enjoying an unusually dry autumn and so I've been putting off my outdoor chores in favor of my canning projects.

After hearing the forcast for rain to come later this week, I thought it would be a good time to get out in the yard while it was still dry. I grabbed my gloves and pruning shears and started cutting back this summers growth.  I have a large garden area in my yard full of herbs and flowering perennials. Because I live on a rocky hillside, I have to choose plants that can thrive in the limiting and sometimes difficult soil conditions.

One flowering perennial I've been placing up the hillside is called pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea). It's a native plant in the aster family and seems to thrive where soil conditions are poor.  It's not a super showy flower, but it blooms in large clusters and stays in bloom from about July - October.  As the name implys this flower is great for drying and lasts nearly forever once dried.

Today I made a wreath from the pearly everlasting that I was cutting back.  Here's how to make one of your own.

For this project you will need a grapevine wreath form.  You can easily make one with your own grapevines by winding them into a circular form and interlocking the ends.  You will also need a pair of scissors, some wire, wire cutters and a whole lot of cut pearly everlasting.  I filled this garden bench twice with plant matter.

After you've gathered your materials, you will take small handfulls of the flower and strip the leaves off the stems.

Then using your wire, wrap this cluster around the grapevine wreath and pull the wire tight.

Then you'll need to trim off the excess stems.

Keep working your way around the wreath in the same direction. 

Add another cluster of flowers, wrap in wire and trim excess stem, be sure to overlap the flower clusters over the previous clusters stems to form a full and lush wreath.

When you've filled the wreath form, secure the wire to the grapevine and make a loop in the wire on the back of the wreath for hanging.

The white wreath is quite nice on it's own, but I also had some hydrangeas in bloom, so I added some to the wreath for extra interest.  You can use other flowers too or decorate with rosehips or anything else you can imagine.

This is my finished wreath.  It turned out beautiful and looks great at our front entry. 

Green tip for this project:  Place your trimmings, leafs and stems into the compost bin and by next spring the compost you create can feed your new garden flowers.

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